The Next Big Idea

When inspiration strikes, you gotta get it down — even if the closest thing available is an old J. Crew catalog.


I’ve been mulling over this new story idea for a while, and suddenly a little nugget popped into my brain that makes the whole thing go click. Puzzle pieces fell into place, motives became established. I was incredibly excited (as you could probably tell from my scrawling handwriting) and am still pretty jazzed about the development.

Problem is — I’m not finished with my current book. And I have a firm “no working on the new story until the current one is done” policy. It’s too easy to get sidetracked, too easy to turn away from the work at hand and never return. So as excited as I am about this new idea — I need to focus on the old one.

And really, I need to get moving on the old one. Over dinner the other night, Byron pointed out that I only have a few months left if I want to meet my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of the year.

“How close do you think you are to finishing?” he asked.

I thought about it a moment. “Probably two-thirds of the way through.”

“That’s all? I thought you were further along.”

Which, truth be told — I might be? I’m definitely in the latter half of the book, but am having a hard time judging exactly how much there is left. (The outline helps, of course, but some parts will move along at a faster clip than others, and I’m not sure yet which parts those will be).

And I think I can meet my goal — I know I can — but I really need to buckle down and start churning out that word count. Which may turn me into more of a shut-in than I already am. How do writers have social lives, that’s what I want to know. If you don’t see me for a few months, you know where I’ll be — here, at this desk, at this computer, slumped over the keyboard as I race towards the finish line.

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